PEOPLE     •     MALAS STUDENTS

Yhovana Karen Chura Cussi

Hometown

La Paz, Bolivia

Education

B.A. in Linguistics, Minor in Native languages, San Andres University, Bolivia

Interests

Sociolinguistics, Indigenous cultures and languages revitalization, Linguistics rights and policies.

Experience

While participating as a volunteer in a language documentation project in Bolivia’s Amazon, I was able not only to make a strong connection with the indigenous language and culture we were working with but also to learn that the linguistic rights and policies in the country are not taken as should be by these minority cultures. That experience had much to do with the decision of studying indigenous cultures and languages in my country. Later, Bolivia’s laws regarding indigenous languages in education have changed to favor them; thus, I started researching the impact in students who have Spanish as their mother tongue and now have to learn Aymara, the indigenous language spoken in the region, as a second language. Results showed that indigenous languages teachers are facing difficulties in all linguistic levels to approach teaching and learning in urban contexts. It is evident we are facing challenges in revitalizing the indigenous languages in Bolivia in spite of laws and regulations promoting them. If this is a problem for the Aymara language, the third most spoken, what is the fate of the other 35 indigenous languages? 

In February 2019, I started volunteering in the Linguistic Research office of the Faculty which has further solidified my interest in native languages, especially the Aymara language.

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